Johnathan Parkes taking Lincoln Falls out for his recent trial. He looks the best of good things on Saturday. PHOTO: Royden Williams.

Lincoln Falls beautifully placed for soft kill then it’s on to the Classic

Exciting galloper Lincoln Falls looks perfectly placed for a soft kill at Trentham on Saturday.

The classy colt spearheads a strong seven-horse team which trainer Lisa Latta will saddle for Lincoln Farms, with several excellent winning chances.

But none stand out as much as Lincoln Falls who, on paper, has little or no opposition in the opening race, confined to three-year-olds, hence his opening quote of $1.30.

The highest rated horse in the race it is almost impossible to find a case for him to be beaten, best of the rest Latta’s second stringer Platinum Mam’selle.

“He’s working well, he trialled well, and he should by rights just put them away,” says Latta. “The only worry is these small fields can be funnily-run races.’’

The way Lincoln Falls accelerated when asked to run in his trial at Awapuni nine days ago, however, suggests it won’t matter what tempo is set on Saturday.

The turn of foot he showed to reel in the field was stunning as he quickly closed to a length and a quarter of the Group I winning sprinter Start Wondering.

Lincoln Falls revelled in the slow 7 conditions that day and, with drying conditions predicted in the next two days, it seems likely he will get the same again, the track officially upgraded already to a slow 9 this morning.

Lincoln Falls has only Group I winning sprinter Start Wondering ahead of him at the finish of his trial. Third placed Blondlign franked the form when scoring a hat-trick three days later. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Lincoln Falls has only Group I winning sprinter Start Wondering ahead of him at the finish of his trial. Third placed Blondlign franked the form when scoring a hat-trick three days later. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Latta is delighted with the way Lincoln Falls has come on since that trial - his final gallop was spot on - and says 1400 metres at Trentham will be ideal for him.”

The race will set Lincoln Falls up nicely for his first big target, the $225,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 12.

“We may also look at taking him up to Ellerslie on Boxing Day .”

The race Latta has in mind is the $60,000 Uncle Remus Stakes, a Listed event for three-year-olds over 1400 metres.

Bookmakers are keeping the colt very safe on the second line of betting for the Classic, sharing a $10 quote with fellow Dundeel colt Cutadeel. NZ 2000 Guineas winner Madison County is early favourite at $8.

Platinum Mam’selle will also be suited by the big, roomy track on Saturday, Latta citing her dislike of Hastings as the reason for her poor run last start.

“They run off the front at Hastings which doesn’t suit her. At Trentham she can come from the back.’’

Platinum Mam’selle will be getting 5 kilos off Lincoln Falls, with the 3kg claim of Wiremu Pinn, but Latta says the ground would need to dry out to dead for her to be any significant threat.

Father Lenihan … wet track and 1600 metres made to order for him. PHOTO: Race Images.Father Lenihan … wet track and 1600 metres made to order for him. PHOTO: Race Images.Taking the No. 2 slot on the Lincoln Farms’ hit parade on Saturday is the progressive Lincoln Raider - with one little proviso. If the conditions don’t dry out, he’ll need to watch out for his stablemate Father Lenihan who has been crying out for 1600 metres and revels in wet ground.

“They’re both good chances,’’ says Latta.

“I’d like to see it dry out a little for Lincoln Raider but if it didn’t the track would be perfect for Father Lenihan.’’

Latta has both tempo bases covered as well.

“One goes back (Lincoln Raider) and the other races on speed and out of trouble.’’

Opie on Raider

Lincoln Raider … gets top jockey Opie Bosson for the last race on Saturday. PHOTO: Race Images.Lincoln Raider … gets top jockey Opie Bosson for the last race on Saturday. PHOTO: Race Images.Lincoln Raider has made a habit of getting into trouble lately but on Saturday he gets a massive help in that department with gun jockey Opie Bosson taking over from Tim Johnson.

Lincoln Raider looked dead unlucky last time at Awapuni when badly held up from the 400 metre mark. By the time Johnson cleared heels 200 metres from home the race was all over, but he still rocketed home into fourth, only three lengths from the winner.

On Saturday he returns to Trentham, the scene of his superlative win in October, where he came from the rear, Johnson finding gaps in the home straight to not only get up, but race away by a length and a quarter.

That performance saw agents start talking massive money for the colt and Latta start planning some big targets.

“He needs to get through the grades first but he’s up to racing in some really good races.

“I’ve nominated him for the Thorndon Mile (January 19) but that might come a touch too soon for him.’’

Robbie Hannam has been impressed by the feel of Johnny Lincoln this week.Robbie Hannam has been impressed by the feel of Johnny Lincoln this week.Latta, and more especially, rider Robbie Hannam, are both looking forward to Johnny Lincoln tackling 2400 metres for the first time in the fifth race.

Hannam has been buoyed by the way the horse has worked since his last-start second over 2100 metres at Awapuni where he was nailed in the shadows of the post by Starrybeel.

Johnny Lincoln took off a long way from home that day, sustaining a very long run, and Latta says Hannam admits he went too soon.

Latta says the Savabeel gelding, now six, is at a stage where he can show his staying ability.

“And he’s done good miles to get up to this distance.’’

Of the rest, Latta thinks we might see a different Platinum Invador (race seven) to the one which was surprisingly well backed when resuming at New Plymouth last month.

“He’s been working really well and with a bit of fire out of the track over a mile I could see him running into a place.’’

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Stephen Marsh

Stephen’s comments

Wednesday at Matamata

Race 5: Bush Whacked

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Thursday at Otaki

Race 2, 4: Lincoln Sky

“I’ve put him in two races, one over 1200 metres and the other 1400 metres and will wait to see what the weather does before deciding which race to run in. If the rain arrives we will line him up in the 1200. He ran a good race when resuming at Wanganui and I have been happy with his progress since.’’

Race 6: Platinum Invador

“Unfortunately he has come up with an outside draw again. He ran a big race at Trentham from a wide gate in a far stronger field. A lot of rain is forecast on Wednesday night though so the bad draw may be negated come race time. He galloped very well this morning and I expect him to be right in it.’’

Race 8: Alesha Lincoln

“Her recent work has been good enough and we have a nice draw to use. Being by Alamosa, it suggests any rain will not worry her. I am looking forward to her debut.’’

Saturday at Awapuni

Race 1: Miss Oahu

“I’ve chosen to start her up a rating band to get some weight relief and she gets in with only 54.5kg. She has really improved since her first-up run and her coat looks far better now. I expect a bold run from her, especially with the one draw to use.’’

Race 2: Platinum Touch

“She’s come up with the outside draw so if it doesn’t rain I will probably scratch her and go to New Plymouth on December 27. Her work has been good and I am happy with her heading into her debut.”

Race 5: Johnny Lincoln

“He’s drawn one from the outside but if he can get any luck in the running he’ll be very hard to beat. I am very happy with him and he has trained on well.’’

Race 8: Father Lenihan

“He’s had no luck with barrier draws and the trend continues on Saturday where he has drawn the outside. He has good gate speed however so we will look to go forward. The forecasted rain will help him and hopefully the track ends up in the dead range. He has continued to please me since his last run at Trentham.’’

Lincoln light

News in brief

Platinum Mam’selle, arrowed, flew late to be beaten a head and long neck.

Platinum Mam’selle, arrowed, flew late to be beaten a head and long neck.

MAM’SELLE MASSIVE: Platinum Mam’selle clocked 34.59, easily the fastest last 600 metres in her race at Awapuni on Saturday when she flew from last at the 200 metre mark to get up for third, just a head and a long neck from winner All In Mana. Those who followed trainer Lisa Latta’s advice collected a $4.50 place dividend.

INVADOR UNLUCKY: Platinum Invador ($52) ran only ninth at Trentham but was dead unlucky. He settled at the rear after jumping awkwardly then was held up entering the home straight and did not get clear until 100 metres out when he rocketed home to be just 2.6 lengths from the winner.

PORT’S FORGIVE RUN: Port Lincoln did well to finish less than three lengths from the winner at Waipukurau. He was held up for a distance near the 500 metres then ran up onto heels passing the 300 metres, having to be angled outwards to get clear.

BUSH BAFFLER: Trainer Stephen Marsh will be trying a few different training tactics with Bush Whacked, including some jumping, to try to switch the horse on. He travelled strongly on the pace until the turn at Avondale but quickly raised the white flag.

DERBY DREAM: Trainer Lisa Latta has nominated six Lincoln Farms’ three-year-olds for the $1 million New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2 - Lincoln Falls, Lincoln Lane, Ajay Lincoln, Lincoln Fury, Lincoln Hanover and Platinum Invador. Latta has also entered 2000 Guineas placegetter Sir Nate.

VOLOS BLOWS IT AGAIN: Platinum Volos did another Chautauqua impersonation when he refused to come out of the gates at Awapuni despite wearing pacifiers and a barrier blanket. The grey will now have to trial on multiple occasions before being allowed to race again.

ALMO OUT FOR SPELL: Almo Street’s much awaited racetrack return, with the aid of a blindfold to help him jump out of the gates, has been put on hold. Trainer Lisa Latta says the normally good trackworker has been decidedly average in his last two gallops and, after nearly a year in work sorting out his problems, is simply over the top.